For researchers

Answers to frequently asked questions about copyright by researchers.

  • Creative Commons is a widely used and accessible type of licence that you can attach to your work. There are six types of Creative Commons licence. When you use a Creative Commons licence, as the copyright holder, you dictate the conditions in which your work may be used by third parties. For all types of Creative Commons licence, it is mandatory to quote the source, and you retain all of your rights to the work.

    The website also provides a licence selection tool that you can use to decide which type of licence best suits your situation.

  • If this is for a quote, then yes, provided you satisfy the legal conditions. If you are unable to rely on the right to quote, you need the copyright holder’s permission. If it is not possible to request permission or permission is not given, you may include a hyperlink to the material.

    For advice on specific permission requests or how to phrase a declaration of consent please, contact

  • Publishers often use their own, standard agreements that they offer to the author for signature. These standard agreements differ from one publisher to another and do not mean that adaptations are not possible. In most cases, the publisher will ask you to transfer your copyright or to grant an extensive licence to your work. In general, as the author, it is best to be aware of the following points before signing the agreement:

    • It is wise to retain the right to reuse an article or book chapter in education or research. This prevents a situation where, having signed the publisher agreement, you are no longer able to use the work you have created in your own teaching or research.
    • If you are planning to rewrite the work, it is also wise to retain the right to rewrite or adapt the work.
    • You should also retain the right to have your publication or, in any event, the author manuscript, included in the institutional repository, RePub. The author manuscript (also referred to as the ‘Submitted Version’ and/or the ‘Version of Record’) is the version you submit to the publisher.
    • If the work is a scientific article, it is wise to retain the right to distribute the article among your colleagues.

    For legal advice on assessing the agreement with the publisher etc, contact

  • The EUR has an Open Access policy. You can read more about Open Access and EUR policy here.

    If you wish to publish in a particular journal on an Open Access basis, before doing so, you should always check in the Erasmus Journal Browser whether the publication costs are covered by the general agreements between EUR and/or the VSNU and the publisher.

  • The right to quote does allow you to copy an image, passage of text or part of an audio(visual) work without the copyright holder’s permission for non-commercial purposes, provided the following legal conditions are met:

    1. The work quoted from has been legally published.
    2. The quote serves to support the content of your work and not to embellish or ameliorate your work.
    3. You may not copy any more than is strictly necessary. Images may, of course, be quoted in their entirety.
    4. No changes may be made to the quote.
    5. The source must be clearly quoted.
  • There are a number of online sources of copyright-free material. However, to be sure, always check the applicable conditions. Some widely used sources are:

    • Wikimedia Commons – a database of over 45 million freely available media files, such as videos, audio clips and images.
    • Pixabay – a website with over a million freely available, high-resolution photos, illustrations, graphical images and videos.
    • Creative Commons search – a website designed specifically for searching for material subject to a Creative Commons licence.
    • Europeana Collections – a digital platform, partly financed by the EU, for sharing cultural heritage. The collection offers access to more than 50 million digitised items.
    • Metropolitan Museum of Art – Since the start of 2017, the Met has made a multitude of public domain works available on its website on an open access basis.
    • The British Library – via Flickr, this museum has published over a million images that may be freely used.


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